Their heads bobbing up and down,

Doves peck the ground,

Resembling sewing machine needles,

Eager for fallen seeds.

Squirrels climb the pole

And hang upside down,

Stretching to reach the sunflower seeds.

Little birds flutter round,

Red-headed finches, wrens, and dark-headed chick-a-dees,

Inching their way to feed,

on the variety of seeds.

But woe to the keeper

That plucks the empty shells from the ground

animal autumn avian bird

Photo by Arek Socha on

of the scattered seeds.

Darken Not Your Heart

Here is a ghost story I wrote. Hope you enjoy it.

I couldn’t see a thing, but the illuminated face of the clock, in the ink-dark room. The bleak, Autumn wind moaned at first, then rose to a shrill. Branches raked their nails across the windows and a chill frosted the air. I’m normally a sober man, but the storm cast its gloom, and I felt the need for a brandy. My hands groped for the decanter on the buffet and I poured myself a drink. My hands shook as I raised my glass to my lips. The brandy tasted of sweet blackberries and plums. It warmed my throat as the liquid trickled down.

I considered myself lucky that I had found the inn, before the storm hit. Most places were booked with a convention in downtown Seattle. My friend, David apologized for the lack of room at his place. I had traveled from Utah, yet I was set aside for David’s in-laws. The brandy took its toil and soon my eyes drifted to sleep. The glass fell from my hand and woke me. I climbed inside my bed and pulled the covers over my head.

The first sensation of consciousness was an icy feeling rippling down my spine. I reached for my blankets, but they were gone. I scanned the floor and a movement grabbed my attention. Did my eyes deceive me? It looked like a woman’s leg. I sat up and screamed. A woman, with flaxen hair, gray eyes, a droopy lip, and skin paler than milk, stood over me with a carving knife in her hand.

“What do you want?” I asked.

Silence.  My heart pounded in my chest. She leaned closer. I rolled out of the way as she stabbed the bed over and over. Blood pooled in the spot where she had driven the knife. I crawled across the room. The door was locked! How did she get in? My fingers trembled as I released the lock. I flung open the door and raced down the hall.

I hammered on the office door, but no one answered. The management must live on the premises though, right? I rushed down the hall and struck every door. At the last room, an elderly man opened his door a crack. He put on his spectacles over his hooked nose and peered up at me.

“Sir, there is a strange woman in my room,” I said.

“Count your lucky stars, sonny. It’s a might cold out. I’m going back to bed.” The man started to close his door.

“Wait!” I stuck my foot in the door. “She has a knife.”

“Then call the police.”

“The power is out and I forgot to charge my phone. Please, can you come, if only to be a witness?” I begged.

The man pulled a red plaid jacket over his thermal shirt and grabbed a rifle that leaned against a wall. “In case.”

He walked behind me as I jogged back to my room. My door stood ajar. I pushed it further open. The old man shone his flashlight inside the room. I couldn’t believe it. The woman was gone and so was the blood stain. The man sniffed the glass on the floor.

“Perhaps you were seeing things, sonny. Get some sleep. Things will look better in the morning.” He left my side.

How could I sleep? The beat of the clock amplified in the room. I crawled under the covers.

The alarm startled me awake. Two in the morning. That’s odd. I hadn’t set the alarm. When had I fallen asleep? The door banged open and the woman, from earlier, stood in the doorway.

“I know you’ve been sleeping with that doe-eyed floozy! She won’t service your needs anymore.” The woman tore across the room.

I flipped off the bed in time. She stabbed the mattress several times. A large pool of blood appeared on the sheets again. The woman disappeared before my eyes. Am I hallucinating or did I just witness a ghost? Enough of this! I yanked the blanket off the bed and wrapped it over my shoulders. I stormed out of my room and headed to the lobby. A light from the kitchen caught my eye. I turned in that direction. An angel-faced young woman, with big eyes, set a tea kettle on the burner.

“Oh, did the power come back on?” I asked.

“I’ll have your tea ready in a jiffy, sir.” She bobbed a curtsy.

To my surprise, she crumbled to the floor and her apron soaked with blood. The ghostly woman appeared and yanked the bloody, carving knife from the cook’s side. She walked over to the stove and turned up the flame.

“No!” I screeched.

They both disappeared and the flame extinguished. I stalked over to the stove and felt it. It was stone cold. How was this possible? I strolled into the lobby and curled up in a leather recliner. I tucked the blanket around me and closed my eyes.

The grandfather clock bonged and I jumped. Would I ever get a good night’s sleep? It was four in the morning. I heard shuffling and peered behind me. A small figure hobbled down the hallway. She entered my room. Hadn’t I locked it? I hurried down the hallway. My door stood open. The ghostly woman leaned over my bed. The small figure of a woman plunged a fork into the ghostly woman’s neck. The woman fell backwards and the fork sunk deeper. The younger woman I recognized as the cook. She collapsed to the floor and blood surrounded the two women, before they disappeared from my sight. I ran out of the room and into the lobby.

At six o’clock, I woke to a tall man, in flannel pajamas, lighting his pipe. The aroma of cherry tobacco lingered in the lobby. The man picked up a newspaper and folded it under his arm. He strolled down the hall and into my room. I rushed down the hall and burst into my room, but it was empty. That’s it! I got dressed, then packed my suitcase. I trekked down the hall. The lights shone bright. A plump woman stood behind the front desk. She smiled at my approach. Something about her looked familiar.

“Did you have a nice stay, Mr. Jones?”

“No, I didn’t sleep well. Excuse me, but do I know you?”

“I don’t believe we’ve met. Perhaps you knew my mother? People say we look alike. You can judge for yourself. The painting over the mantel is of her.”

I gazed up at the painting. My suitcase fell from my hand. It was the young cook. Her large, walnut eyes and warm smile shone down on me. Did she just wink? I had to get out of here before I went bonkers. I tossed enough cash on the desk to cover the bill and rushed outside. Curiosity called me back.

“Did you forget something, sir?”

“What happened here?” I asked.

“I’m sorry if they kept you awake. Some people are more sensitive than others. I’ve never seen any ghost myself, but other guests complained. My mother ran the inn years ago. She charmed the guests with her smile and tasty desserts. Mr. Brooks had a sweet tooth. His wife had a stroke and was put on a strict diet.  She tried to keep her husband on the same diet, but Mr. Brooks visited my mother in the wee hours when she baked. He sampled her wares. His wife thought he was having an affair. She killed him and set the kitchen on fire. I remodeled with the insurance money. Will that be all?”

“Can you call me a cab?”  I sat in the lobby and waited for my ride. A horn beeped and I hastened outside. A rim of sunlight appeared behind the clouds. I smiled at the change of weather.  I hopped in the cab and gave the driver David’s address. I’d sleep on his floor, rather than spend another night at the inn. Oh, the story I had for him though!ghosts-gespenter-spooky-horror-40748.jpeg



Limerick Fun

A limerick is a five line witty poem with rhythm. The first, second, and fifth lines are longer lines and rhyme. They should have between seven to ten syllables. The third and fourth lines are shorter and rhyme. They have five to seven syllables. Here is an example:

There once was a man from Blether.

Whose skin looked like dry, old leather.

He spent all his time afloat

On a rickety old boat IMG_0749

That man just loved the sea weather.

The Secret Recipe

Here is a fun poem I wrote about my husband, (when he was a kid) and his grandmother.

I was three-foot-five and she was five-foot-three.

I was five years old and she was eighty three,

That special day I helped her make her secret recipe.

I stood upon a chair so I could reach the bowl,

While Grandma lined the counter with the ingredients, row by row.

She put in a pinch of this and a tad bit of that

And when I asked her what it was, she said. “To make us fat.”

I gave her a puzzled look and she gave me a wink,

But when I tried to copy her, all I did was blink.

Grandma laughed with jellied glee and slapped her bony knees.

Then she tweaked my nose and said, “A little butter, if you please.”

I gave her a tiny smirk and handed her a stick,

But she pushed out her lower lip and said, “Give me two more sticks.”

I chopped that butter up with a big ole’ wooden spoon,

While she dumped in half a moon of thick molasses.

I beamed up at Grandma and dreamed of that taste,

And how the neighboring lasses would be begging me for a piece.

“Best clean that gleam from your eyes,” Grandma uttered.

Then she added in a pint of sugar and I stirred it in until it looked like cream.

I poured in the vanilla, while she cracked a dozen farm-fresh eggs,

But she held up her hand and said, “Hold up a peg.”

Then she added in the flour, a cup or two or three,

Plus some that splattered onto my navy-blue jeans.

Grandma dropped in a spoon pf baking powder,

Some raisins drowned in rum,

And added enough corn syrup to fill a small wooden drum.

I stirred it all together, but that batter was mighty thick

And I pondered for a minute if this was some kind of trick,

But Grandma greased an iron pan and scooped that batter in.

Which made me wonder how she ever lifted that heavy pan?

She turned the oven on to three-twenty-five and placed that pan way deep inside,

While I stared at the door as the minutes ticked by.

That heavenly scent of cinnamon and ginger went ’round the room with its spicy flavor,

Which made the cowpokes beg for Grandma’s favor.

But they’ll have to step in the back of the line,

For I get that first piece, oh yes, it’s mine.

We’ll all have to wait for an hour or two,

Until that sweet cake is completely through.

“Hold onto your hats, boys. For that cake’s got to cool.”

Grandma’s brows creased as I snatched a small piece by the skin of my teeth

And I ran from the room and her hand with the spoon.